In a career that lasted just five years, The Smiths took the British music scene by storm, leaving four highly rated albums and a string of classic singles in their wake. Lead singer Morrissey remains a revered figure in indie rock and Johnny Marr’s chiming guitar style influenced a whole generation of kids to pick up the instrument. Nearly 30 years after their split, the band remains figureheads in indie rock. The band, whose best known songs include “How Soon is Now?” and “This Charming Man”, have been eligible since 2008 and were first nominated last year.
Ryan Gibbs: One of my favorite bands of all time, no question.
Kevin Montes: I like the Smiths, though I have no opinion on Morrissey
Matt Rice: I was actually just listening to them yesterday for the first time in months.
Jon Winkler: The Smiths are responsible for sooo many great 90s/00s bands
Ryan: Massively important in the history of indie and alternative music.You cannot write the history of rock & roll in the 1980s without mentioning that band, regardless of their relative lack of success in the US.
Matt: They were a very important band for me. “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” is an all-time fave easily.
Ryan: Me too. There was a good year where I practically listened to nothing else but The Smiths. Johnny Marr is such an innovative guitarist and Morrissey was an amazing lyricist and emotive singer. And not a lot of people mention Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke, but they were a formidable rhythm section, especially on those Peel Sessions recordings.
Matt: I was like the stereotypical “no one understands me, I’m going to die alone” Smiths fan.
Jon: “This Charming Man” is my favorite. It’s amazing how well their music holds up today.
Kevin: The Queen is Dead is my favorite of theirs
Ryan: Not only is their stuff so great, but pretty much all the stuff that’s happened in British music after them is from their legacy And you can hear British musicians talk about The Smiths the same way Americans do about REM. They were life changing. I think this is their year. They have a groundswell of support that’s much deserved. I’d give them my vote.
Jon: If they go in, Morrissey will be a no show, right?
Ryan: Of course he won’t. If we’re lucky we get just Marr. And that’s not a bad deal, to be honest.
Matt: Marr is who I mainly listen for now anyway.
Jon: Same. He’s got a solid solo career.
Ryan: Me too. I love a lot of Morrissey’s solo stuff, but he’s become so….Morrissey at this point that he’s kind of hard to take all at once.And his new novel is apparently fucking dreadful.
Also known as The Detroit Spinners, the vocal quartet started on Motown in the mid-60s, but did not start having major success until the early 70s. Their singles such as “The Rubberband Man” and “It’s a Shame” kept soul on the charts throughout the decade. They were previously nominated in 2012 and this past year.
Matt: The Spinners are great.
Ryan: I honestly haven’t spent much time on The Spinners aside from the big hits like “The Rubberband Man” and “Working My Way Back to You.” They kind of had an uphill battle as a vocal group whose hitmaking career was mostly in the 70s.
Ryan: I do hope they get a nudge, but I’m not sure if they’ll get in. If they do, it would be much deserved “The Rubberband Man” is a great song. Really unique 70s soul.
STEVE MILLER (BAND)
The Steve Miller Band were consistent AOR hitmakers throughout the 70s, starting shortly after singer Boz Scaggs left for a solo career and namesake guitarist Steve Miller took up the microphone. Their greatest hits album remains one of the best selling albums of all time. thanks to hit singles like “The Joker” and “Rock’n Me”. It has been noted that it is highly unusual that only Steve Miller has been nominated and not his band, who were credited on all of his hits. This is the first time Miller or his band have been nominated, despite having been eligible since 1993.
Ryan: Notably Steve Miller is being nominated just by himself. No Steve Miller Band. Which makes no sense whatsoever and I suspect they might change that.
Kevin: I don’t know much of his solo career.
Ryan: That’s because there was no solo career aside from one album from 1988 that no one cares about. That’s why it makes no sense.
Kevin: Oh haha.
Ryan: Let’s just imagine that this was the Steve Miller Band being nominated. Again, and much more loudly than Deep Purple: why them out of all 70’s rock giants, and more importantly why now?
Matt: I’d rather they induct the Steve Miller Band cover band The Abracadabblers (from Bob’s Burgers).
Ryan: Excellent reference.
Matt: Has anyone here heard Sugar Ray’s cover of “Abracadabra?”
Ryan: Is that something I want to hear? “Abracadabra” is a terrible song though.
Matt: Probably not. That’s just the only bit of nostalgia I have for Steve Miller Band. Apart from the time my uncle sang that he was going to “fry up an eagle” to the tune of “Fly Like an Eagle.”
Ryan: I don’t hate any of the nominees this year, but Steve Miller (Band) was a surprise.They check a lot of boxes: they had the hits that have endured, they have the influence, they had a good career. They spun off Boz Scaggs’ equally okay career. But again, why them? Compared to The Doobie Brothers or Boston? (other than I subjectively like and appreciate both of those bands way more)
Matt: How is Boston not in yet?
Ryan: Because the Hall hates arena rock. It’s why Journey isn’t in either.
Matt: I do too for the most part, but it’s Boston.
Ryan: I wonder if having their career dwarfed by one colossal album hurt Boston’s chances.
Matt: I wouldn’t take a Dave Marsh-on-KISS stance on Journey, since major bands should probably be in there, but I really hate them.
Ryan: I don’t totally hate Journey. Especially their singles. They’re okay. But I argue they belong in the Hall more than Steve Miller. Steve Miller (Band) is exactly the kind of inductee that the Hall would actually put in. I wouldn’t hate it if he (they) got in, particularly if they remembered to induct Boz Scaggs too, but it just seems like a safe AOR pick. I told myself when I started this that I wouldn’t whine about who did not get nominated when we had such a strong nomination class for once, but this was the one that kind got to me.
Prog rock hasn’t fared well in the Hall, despite many of the biggest names in rock in the 70s being tied to the genre. Even so, Yes is probably one of the stronger candidates out of the many eligible bands in the genre, having had several hit singles and maintaining their success into the 80s, even with repeat lineup changes. Yes is best known for songs like “Roundabout” and “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. They have been eligible since 1994, but this is only the second time they have been nominated.
Ryan: I actually like Yes a lot. I know that’s weird coming out of someone who just went in on Steve Miller Band for being a safe AOR pick, but I love quite a few of the big prog bands. Yes put out a bunch of records I like. And also Tales of Topographic Oceans which is just as bloated as its reputation leads it to be.
Matt: I don’t have the patience for a lot of prog rock. Still, better Yes than Emerson, Lake, & Palmer
Ryan: I worry that they only got nominated – and possibly inducted – this year because of the death of Chris Squire. If they do get in, picking which members they’re gonna induct is gonna be a bit of a headache. Obviously the classic members get in, but do they also induct both Buggles? It would be weird if Trevor Horn, one of the most important people in music in the 80s, got into the Hall through one (very good and underrated, natch) Yes album. They’d have my vote if I had one though.
Ryan: What did you think of this year’s choices, overall?
Kevin: I liked them. A Tribe Called Quest’s snub made me a piss bitch.
Ryan: I like Tribe, but i didn’t expect them to make it. Out of all the artists that didn’t get a nomination, I thought Harry Nilsson had a shot. He had a big grassroots campaign this year.
Matt: I like the picks for the most part. A few really great artists, and Chicago is the only one that pisses me off.
Ryan: More than Steve Miller?
Matt: A lot more. I at least love “The Joker.”
Ryan: I mean I like a lot of Chicago’s “good stuff” but I get you.
Jon: It’s a solid list. Missing Joy Division/New Order and more metal.
Ryan: Joy Division/New Order, I guess, has been a problem with the Hall for a while. Putting them in together makes a more than worthy candidate, but is that really the way they should go in?
Jon: I think putting one in before the other doesn’t make sense to me.
Ryan: True. And they inducted the Small Faces and Faces the same way.
Jon: Right, so the same should apply.
Ryan: I thought this was a solid nomination class. Hopefully, they don’t mess this up.
Jon: Yeah same. All the people on the list deserve to go in
Joey Daniewicz: Was there anyone expected to be nominated that got shorted or anything like that? The slate seemed mostly pretty expected.
Ryan: Kraftwerk? War?
Joey: If Kraftwerk have been on in past years but got passed up to include stuff like freaking Steve Miller then what’s the freaking point? Other than that, mostly expected, thank god Chic is back again and isn’t going away. Hopefully we can get done with NWA so we can get to some OTHER hip hop, too.
Ryan: And remember, Steve Miller is on without the band for some weird reason
Joey: What a bunch of, wait for it, jokers!
Who we would pick:
Joey Daniewicz: The Cars, Cheap Trick, Chic, Janet Jackson, Los Lobos, The Smiths
Ryan Gibbs: Cheap Trick, Chic, Janet Jackson, NWA, The Smiths, Yes
Kevin Montes: Cheap Trick, Janet Jackson, Los Lobos, NWA, The Smiths, Steve Miller
Matt Rice: Chic, Janet Jackson, Los Lobos, NWA, The Smiths, The Spinners
Jon Winkler: Cheap Trick, Chic, Deep Purple, Janet Jackson, NWA, The Smiths